Do I Really Need To Follow My CCRs?

Did you buy your home in a subdivision and have to pay homeowner association(HOA) dues? Chances are your home is impacted by covenants, conditions and restrictions or rules called, “CC&Rs.” The CC&Rs are basically the community rules within your neighborhood; and apply to anyone who owns property in your subdivision. The intent of the CC&Rs is to protect, to preserve, and to enhance property values in the subdivision by maintaining certain, albeit basic, standards within the boundaries of that subdivision. Most of the time, the rules make sense and are easy to accept. For example, it is pretty easy to agree with a covenant that requires you to keep your lawn maintained.

The truth is, CC&Rs are legal, binding documents that describe the covenants, conditions & restrictions of owning property within your homeowners association. They refer to the parcel and to the dwelling in which you live, and do not refer to you, the homeowner, or the tenant who lives in the house. Therefore, CC&Rs are transferred by the Deed to the property in the event of a sale. And, it is important to note that not all subdivisions and their CC&Rs are alike, as there is a great deal of variation. All homeowners should become familiar with their subdivision’s CC&Rs and comply with these basic standards.

Your CC&Rs were originated by either a developer or the builder of your subdivision; transferred to the Deed of the property, and then are governed by your homeowner’s association (HOA) board.HOA Board members volunteer to sit on the board, live within the subdivision and are elected to the position by a vote of the homeowners.Everyone, including the Board Member, must comply with those rules.

So what happens if you don’t like some of these rules as described in your CC&Rs? Here are six factors to keep in mind:

1. As an owner/member of the association, your home-related activities are governed by the CC&Rs, even if you didn’t agree to the conditions. For example, the color of your home or whether you can have a basketball stand in your driveway. Get to know them and the process in which they are enforced.

2. Family members, renters and other residents are also subject to the CC&Rs.

3. CC&Rs have held up in court as a legal binding document, unless a provision violates the law. In fact, if you violate the CC&Rs, there may be fines levied against you.And, they can be expensive. In worst cases, the HOA Board can impose a lien on your home which could be imposed on a new buyer if you decide to sell your home; or worse, result in a foreclosure on your property.

4. You can ask the homeowner’s association board for an exception if you disagree with any part of the CC&Rs. The board will likely vote on whether to allow it, but changing or amending the CC&Rs would take a majority vote of the board to result in any action.

5. You can solicit your neighbors to change the CC&Rs, or even remove a Board member. The rules for doing so should be outlined in your CC&Rs, but you will need a majority of the subdivision owners to agree to the amendment or change.

6. Changing a CC&R can be a challenge without board support. You need 66¾ of the votes from the subdivision homeowners, and you’ll find that most do not attend association meetings to cast a vote.You may have to go door to door.

Another alternative to an HOA Board is to have a third party association management service act as an unbiased, facilitator of a subdivision. Third party association management services help to interpret CC&Rs, update and amend the bylaws if necessary and guide homeowners and their board in administrative and governing protocols. Association managers assist and support the subdivision’s HOA Board which can lose objectivity if they lack resources, and can place them in uncomfortable situations and confrontations with neighbors.

One example is MGM Association Management which has been providing assistance and support for the past two decades to over 20,000 homes and over 110 homeowner associations and their board members throughout Idaho and the western United States. Their mission is to navigate the facilitation and management of common interest developments to alleviate the burden of administration imposed on a volunteer board, so that the board can focus on more relevant matters. MGM provides expertise on the governance and enforcement of CC&Rs, proven processes from collection of dues to violations to small claims, and a state-of-the-art, cost efficient accounting service. As a result, MGM is the largest and most trusted association manager in the State of Idaho.

For more information regarding homeowner association management services or MGM Association Management, call toll-free (208) 846-9189, or visit